Week 41: Jacob's Pickles

Upper West Side Mainstay Serves Up Southern Brunch Trifecta

By: Barbara Booras

There is something inherently special about brunch. It’s not uncommon one may arrive to said meal hungover, overtired, hangry or in an unfortunate combination of all three. However, to leave happily stuffed, pleasantly buzzed, and genuinely elated is not only rare but magical. The healing powers, of one extraordinary New York City brunch spot, can be distilled down to three words: Beer, Biscuits, and Pickles.

If you are one of the fortunate individuals who have dined at the Upper West Side’s mainstay, Jacob’s Pickles, you’ve undoubtedly tasted one of their fresh-baked biscuits. Since it’s opening in 2011, the 114 seat restaurant has established itself as a southern dining destination worth traveling to.

Owner and founder, Jacob Hadjigeorgis developed the original menu inspired by extensive travel and his love of southern food and craft beer. Following in the footsteps of his restauranteur father, it came as no surprise he would assume the family trade. With two upcoming projects, both in the Upper West Side neighborhood, Hadjigeorgis continues to piggyback on the success of his namesake restaurant.

Jacob’s Pickles isn’t just bustling for brunch. The restaurant is proportionally packed for weeknight dinner service, serving up classic comfort food ranging from Shrimp and Bacon Grits, to Low Country Meatloaf, and Macaroni and Cheese. Hadjigeorgis’ first restaurant endeavor in Boston’s Quincy Market, aptly named Mmmac n' Cheese, focused solely on the cheesy classic.

For brunch, diners pack the lofty restaurant, softened by exposed brick walls and a rustic wood backed bar. Towering Bloody B.L.T’s featuring romaine lettuce, crisp bacon and a jalapeno pickled egg ($13) are a fan favorite in addition to the rotating selection of local and craft beers. While whizzing behind the bar and shaking up drinks, the bartenders (and customers) cheerfully sing along to the soundtrack of the day.

Although Jacob’s Pickles is an inviting space for large groups, saddling up at the bar with the welcoming bartenders proves an equally exceptional experience. Propped up on a bar stool, one can expect to make friends with sociable brunch-goers or take in a sighting of one of many celebrity regulars.

Executive Chef Glenroy Brown, oversees the well-oiled machine that is the back of the house at Jacob’s Pickles. With experience working for industry giants Bobby Flay and Danny Meyer, including a stint at Blue Smoke, he developed his southern culinary chops early on.

The now 28 year-old chef, studied culinary arts at The Art Institute of New York City. “School only teaches you so much,” explained Brown.  After working his way up at Blue Smoke and a few restaurants around the city, Glenroy was ready to find a culinary home where he would establish himself using his own skills and techniques. “It’s definitely here,” says Brown, “and at the new place [Maison Pickle].”

Behind the scenes, Chef Brown’s team, is continually churning out small batches of biscuits, where they will typically feed over 500 hungry customers. Because of the high demand, biscuits are made on sheet trays. “It’s most efficient for the amount of volume we do,” says Brown.

Thankfully, quality is not sacrificed for quantity. The original recipe, developed by the owner, is still made by hand with just a few simple ingredients. Each fluffy batch of biscuits is baked off in a small convection oven in the center of the bustling kitchen. Once portioned off, the biscuits await in a warmer before being assembled into any number of biscuit-centric dishes.

The signature warm buttermilk biscuits can be enjoyed solo or with an array of accompaniments including house strawberry and orange preserves, clover honey, salted butter, and maple butter ($8).  The kitchen finds the most popular brunch dish to be the Honey Chicken & Pickles ($16). Crisp buttermilk fried chicken is drizzled with honey, topped with house made hot sour pickles, and sandwiched between two warm biscuits.

You can find the biscuits creatively incorporated into other items on the menu as well. “They’re sweet but savory,” says Chef Brown, making them versatile and “easy to transform.” The french toast ($15), which rotates seasonally, currently features a pumpkin biscuit, topped with candied yams and powdered sugar. A Buttermilk Fried Chicken Caesar ($16) features biscuit “crostinis” or croutons, which have been fried then topped with parmesan and oregano.  Finish your meal on a sweet note with the warm Biscuit Bread Pudding served up in a skillet with vanilla ice cream ($9).

With Pickles in the name, Chef Brown’s pickle game is nothing short of on point. His team makes batches of house made fresh pickles weekly. Special Sours, Hot Sour Cukes, Big Dill Kosher Cukes, Pickled Beets, Carrots, Tomatoes, and Jalapeños all grace the menu. Available one for $4, four for $11 or a sampling of eight varieties for $16. Pickles are placed in mason jars on sampling boards for customers to enjoy with a meal.

Approaching its fifth year anniversary, Jacob’s Pickles cult following only continues to grow. “I’ve been in restaurants for about nine years now and I’ve never worked in a place where people consistently wait outside for over two hours,” shared Brown. With the promise of stellar beer, biscuits, and pickles, Jacob’s Pickles transformative brunch experience is well worth the wait.

Buttermilk Biscuits

By Jacob Hadjigeorgis

Jacob’s Pickles – New York, NY

Makes about 9 Biscuits

 

4 ½ cups (1.25 lb) Self-Rising Flour

¾ cup (6 oz) butter, frozen and shredded

2 cups buttermilk

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

 

Preheat oven to 325*F

Mix the flour and the butter in a large mixing bowl by hand.

Add the sugar and the buttermilk and slowly work the batter until it just comes together.

Add the olive oil to your hands and work the mixture to a quarter sheet pan.

Once the mixture is on the sheet pan, pat and smooth the top until it's completely flattened and evenly spread. Score the biscuits with a knife.

Place in the oven and bake for approximately 17 minutes, rotating the biscuit half way during the cooking process.

Let biscuits cool then cut into even squares.

Tips: Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter when they first come out of the oven. Serve with salted butter, jam or your favorite local honey.

Visit Jacob’s Pickles

509 Amsterdam Ave

New York, NY 10024

 

[http://jacobspickles.com/]

f [https://www.facebook.com/jacobspickles/]

@ [https://twitter.com/jacobspickles]

 

Hours:

Monday-Thursday           10am-2am

Friday                                    10am-4am

Saturday                              9am-4am

Sunday                                 9am-2am

*Kitchen closes earlier. Check website for further details.

Jacob’s Pickles accepts reservations for six or more on Resy.

No reservations taken for weekend brunch.


Barbara Booras is a Boston native and freelance writer based in New York City. She works full-time in Sales for an all-natural Mediterranean-inspired importer and producer. In addition to being a lover of all things gastronomy, Barbara is an avid runner and recently completed her second NYC Marathon running with City Harvest, a local food rescue charity.

Week 40: The Big Biscuit

The Big Biscuit

Ten Locations throughout Kansas & Missouri

Written by Zak Goeringer

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com

Have you ever thought to yourself, “IF I drove to Kansas tomorrow, what would the biscuit 'sitch be? Would I be able to find something to quench my biscuit thirst? I can’t go to a state that doesn’t have the promise of a biscuit so good that it should be in danger of being illegal.”

Well, if you ever do have that inkling, you’re in luck – take it on down The Big Biscuit in Kansas City. Much like the name, they pride themselves on biscuits and breakfast meals so large your head will spin right out of control and land in biscuit nirvana.

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com

The very first Big Biscuit started slinging mondo biscuits in the year 2000, with their founding philosophy being “every guest to have a great experience.” With that, they have hit the ground running, serving up biscuit bounties so rich you’ll think it’s some sort of biscuit waterworld, but instead of endless water, endless fluffy mountains of true biscuit existence.

After all, how COULD you go wrong with a signature dish known as the “Yard Bird?” It’s simple, after hearing this, you can’t logically go wrong with this choice. We’re talking hand-breaded fried chicken breast, some sweet, delicious cheddar cheese, sandwiched between a voluminous biscuit and smothered in some luscious gravy. I don’t know about you, but our mouths AND eyes are watering just thinking about this outstanding concoction of a biscuit powerhouse. Not to mention the heaping helping of potatoes to top it all off in a blaze of biscuit-powered glory.

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com

What’s that you say? That doesn’t float your biscuit boat? Wait, you don’t own or even like a biscuit boat? Well, no problem! Try out The Alamo! An exemplary breakfast burrito loaded with all the most notorious breakfast ingredients.

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com

Also, at The Big Biscuit, they’re not breakfast prejudice – say you roll in there and proclaim “I WILL NOT BE HAVING A BISCUIT TODAY!” They STILL have you covered with items such as The Cinnamon Roll – buttermilk pancakes made in the style of a gorgeous cinnamon roll.

Photo courtesy of Twitter.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter.com

The Big Biscuit has one ideal – everyone should have a great experience, and with the Big Biscuit evolving and growing, so too are they expanding the number of locations. No no, we’re not just talking one location in Kansas City, we’re talking up to TEN locations across Kansas & Missouri combined. So do yourself a “flavor” – the next time you’re in the Midwest, the salt-of-the-earth beating heart of this nation, take that biscuit appetite on into The Big Biscuit. You won’t regret this biscuit decision for the rest of your biscuit life. 

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com

Photo courtesy of Instagram.com

Week 39: Serious Biscuit

The pig sitting outside the entrance at Serious Biscuit in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood is covered in chalk, doodles scribbled by those patiently waiting for a table during the weekend brunch rush hour. The porker’s name is Biscuit, which seems fitting given the casual cafe’s mission to do right by the best breakfast bread product in the world.

When James Beard Foundation award-winning chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas opened the place in early 2010, Seattle was woefully lacking biscuit options. Tom had been to Pine State in Portland, Ore.,  a few times and was impressed with the vibe. He thought Seattle was ready for a Serious Biscuit and the company’s pastry chef, Stacy Fortner, couldn’t have agreed more.

“The first thing I did after becoming pastry chef was change the biscuit,” said the Kentucky native, who had been craving a taste of her home state since relocating to the Pacific Northwest. Her initial efforts to introduce a better biscuit appeared at the restaurant group’s Dahlia Bakery, so when Tom talked to her about the Serious Biscuit project, she was pumped.

She scoured vintage Southern cookbooks for a recipe that made sense, something that was fluffy and flavorful, yet sturdy enough to hold the sandwiches that are the foundation of the menu at Serious Biscuit. She hit flour-y gold in a well-worn spiral bound collection from the Kentucky Federation of Womens Clubs called Kentucky Hospitality: A 200 Year Old Tradition.

“I tweaked it to make it my own,” she said. That includes using a heavier flour than something like a White Lily, and baking them a bit longer so they’re a shade beyond golden.

“Tom likes a crispy biscuit,” she explained.

Walk into the bustling space that Serious Biscuit shares with one of the restaurant group’s three pizza joints, Serious Pie, and the air is perfumed with the buttery scent of the star sandwich ingredient being toasted off before being piled high with thick-sliced ham, fried green tomatoes, house-made peanut butter and housemade jam.

Customers line up at the counter, ordering from the massive menu that hangs from the ceiling. The lineup has changed little since Serious Biscuit made its debut. Ham, cheddar, fried egg topped with apple mustard is still the best seller, with The Zach coming in hot as another popular choice, named for a regular who requested bacon and egg on top of the juicy fried chicken. That sandwich is Tom’s fave, too, with creamy black pepper gravy on top.

The Southern-inspired biscuit sandwich menu also includes a catfish cake dressed in a green olive tartar sauce and crispy ham hocks partnered with collard greens and smoked onions. The short list of sides balances out the flour portion of the menu by paying tribute to corn. Grits are from Anson Mills, and hush puppies get a bit of heat from chopped jalapeno peppers.

On Serious Biscuit’s first day back in 2010, the kitchen baked about 50 biscuits. These days, it’s up to 500. The neighborhood has become known as Amazonia, as office buildings for the online retail Goliath have transformed an area that used to be an industrial wasteland. South Lake Union is now home to towering office buildings, apartments and condos. The city’s restaurant scene has experienced tremendous growth, largely because the new construction is mandated to have retail space on the ground level, and much of that has become pubs, cantinas, fast-casual Asian and bagel shops. Serious Biscuit and Serious Pie were among the first to carve out a spot in the neighborhood, and, judging by the steady stream of customers on a recent weekday, that move has paid off.

But a killer location is only part of the key to its success. Everything comes back to the biscuit.

All members of Stacy’s pastry crew know how to mix, roll and bake off the biscuits because consistency is essential. The prep is ongoing throughout the week, with various pastry chefs cutting pounds and pounds of butter, so it’s ready to go each morning when the process begins around 5 a.m.

“We even pre-measure the dry ingredients and keep them in the freezer, so they’re extra cold,” Stacy explained.

The biscuit making procedure was laid out, step-by-step in The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook (2012):

Cold butter is cut into the dry ingredients.

Cold buttermilk is added and the dough is mixed by hand.

Biscuit dough is kneaded lightly and shaped into a rectangle.

The dough is flattened to ¾-inch thickness with a rolling pin before being cut into squares.

They’re baked in a 475-degree oven for about 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.

Before serving, the cooled biscuits are split in half and toasted.

Here’s the full recipe, which yields about 20 2 ½ inch square biscuits:

 

Ingredients:

5 ½ cups all-purpose flour (1 pound, 14 ounces)

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 ½ cups cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch dice, plus a few tablespoons melted butter for brushing

3 cups cold buttermilk

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

In a large bowl, using a whisk, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cold to the bowl and using a pastry blender, two forks or fingertips, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is the size of peas. Add the cold buttermilk and use a rubber spatula or both hands to mix the dough until everything is just combined. Do not overmix.

Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 4 or 5 times, just until you have a smooth surface on top. Use your hands to shape the dough into a rough rectangle, then using a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a rectangle ¾ inch thick. Use a knife to cut the rectangle into 2 ½ inch squares.

Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them about an inch apart. Brush the tops with melted butter.

Put the biscuits in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. Serve the biscuits warm.

 Serious Biscuit Trivia:

At the breathtaking Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Serious Biscuits are available for breakfast and lunch, though they’re low-profile, devoid of the restaurant’s branding, making it the most famous under-the-radar biscuit in the country.

Those in the know are thrilled to have this delicious option, best enjoyed with a cup of single-origin pour over coffee.


Leslie Kelly is a Seattle-based food writer, who learned to LOVE biscuits while living in Memphis, Tenn., working at The Commercial Appeal. She's a member of The Southern Foodways Alliance, and is obsessed with fried chicken, barbecue and ramen. She's currently Senior Editor at Allrecipes.com

Week 38: eat.

eat.- Las Vegas, Nevada 

707 Carson St. (at 7th)  

Las Vegas, NV 89101 

(702) 534-1515 

www.eatdtlv.com 

 

 

Las Vegas is easily the brightest city on earth considering the more than 15,000 miles of neon tubing on its 4-mile strip, alone. Undoubtedly, sparkle is indeed the sin citys signature color. So, it stands to reason that the only biscuits to be found might be the imposturous gems dripping from well-coifed socialites. Patrick T CooperSpoils Columnist for The Global Traveler offers this biscuit wisdom, Safety and security are paramount when it pertains to your crown jewels. In your rigorous travels and every day regiment, be not afraid to replicate your family heirlooms. Ask your jeweler for a biscuit. Trust me it will be the smartest investment you will ever make. 

 

 

Among the usual celebrity sitings, theres a smattering of biscuit cameo appearances on the strip. But, head on over to Downtown Las Vegas and folks are lined out the door for Chef/Owner Natalie Youngs Cinnamon Biscuits at eat. the breakfast and lunch joint downtown. Served with a warm strawberry compote, these sweet little numbers could easily be shared as a dessert, or perhaps star as the main event. Like everything on Youngs menu, the ingredients are responsibly sourced, and made from scratch. This is truly good food for good people made with love in Downtown Las Vegas. Upon entering eat., its immediately apparent this place is about way more than the beautiful food and service. The all-are-welcome atmosphere” of the joint shines right down to the fact that these folks are willing to share their knowledge. Limited kitchen scholarships are available for those who give a damn.    

Talk about good people.  

Lovingly referred to by locals as “Chef Nat,” this is one lady with sheer determination. Overcoming addiction and years of discrimination as a gay, African-American woman was no match for Young. Here, she shares her  Journey Never Stops” story for American Express. 

 

 

Keep in mind, Downtown Vegas was once THE Vegas. As the strip grew brighter, Downtown struggled to keep their lights on. In most recent years, the once disheveled Downtown Vegas community experienced a renaissance, thanks in large part to the Downtown Project. This organizations dedication to helping revitalize part of downtown Las Vegas through investment in small businesses by inspiring and empowering people to follow their passions to create a vibrant, connected urban core” proves worthy time and time again. So far the organization has allocated $350 million toward revitalization, with $200 million in real estate and development, $50 million in small businesses, $50 million in tech startups through VegasTechFund, and $50 million in arts and culture, education, and healthcare. And to date, 50 Downtown businesses,  along with a host of events and services have benefited from a most valuable belief in humanity.  

Screen Shot 2016-11-14 at 9.28.17 AM.png

 Young says that she is grateful for the chance the Downtown Project took on her, and proudly was first to pay her loan back in just over one years time.  

It just goes to show that life doesn’t always offer us a pan of biscuits to sop our plates in anticipation of pie. The way we play the hand of cards dealt us is what makes all the difference. While Chef Nats Cinnamon Biscuits are certainly deserving of the Nevada edition of 50 States of Biscuits,” its her kind of tenacity and strength that this great nation of diverse people was and is built upon that truly makes her aces in our book.   

 Now, back to those sparkle biscuits 

 

Writer's note: I looked high and low for the best Vegas biscuit. Special thanks to International Biscuit Festival's Chadwick Boyd for his recommendations. If you haven't tried his Cauliflower Drop Biscuits with Cheddar, Bacon and Leeks, you just may need these for the holidays!  

Click HERE for a similar recipe!


 Written by: 

Melissa D. Corbin 

Corbin is a Nashville-based freelance food and travel journalist. Shes also the founder of Corbin In The Dell, a company connecting those who care where their food comes from through content development and strategies that matter. Follow her on instagram @melcorbin and twitter @mdcorbin. 

 

Week 37: Rex 1516

Northeast Meets Deep South with Philly Biscuit Mashup

By Barbara Booras

Justin Swain wants his customers to “crave the food they eat here, when they’re not [at Rex 1516].”

“It’s really easy, when you’re doing southern food,” says Swain, Rex 1516’s Executive Chef and Philadelphia native. Any uncertainties my inner skeptic had on whether this former bike messenger from Philly would deliver one of the all-time, crave-worthy biscuits, were quickly quelled when a warm plate of Everything Bagel Drop Biscuits appeared before me.

Over six years ago, fueled by a love of learning and a wide range of interests varying from art, to cooking, and bicycle mechanics, Justin Swain found himself being pulled in several directions. He was encouraged by his girlfriend to focus his energy on one single pursuit, culinary arts. Sage advice from the Chef’s now wife.

Rex 1516, opened its doors in the spring of 2012 and has been serving up a blend of regional southern cuisines with a twist ever since. Swain, on board since the opening, joined the team as sous-chef but found himself quickly promoted to Executive Chef, when his predecessor fell ill. The promotion was a big break for the novice chef, wrapping up his culinary program at the time.

Situated in the South Street West area of Philadelphia, the customer base consists of locals, young professionals and families. As for the neighborhood, Swain says, “little by little, there’s more and more happening on this street.” He likens it to “a very young Passyunk,” a trendy Philly neighborhood experiencing a food renaissance. For the husband and wife owners, Evan Malone and Jill Weber, the couple aims to have the small 34-seat restaurant and bar be a local fixture in the growing community.

Southern comfort, the influence of the former Executive Chef Regis Jansen, remains at the heart of Rex 1516. The dinner menu features classics like fried green tomatoes, crawfish, skillet cornbread, and grits along with more creative interpretations of southern cuisine like the ham hock ravioli or smoked pastrami short rib, one of Chef Swain’s personal favorites.

The southern emphasis doesn’t stop at the menu. The hospitality is palpable from the moment you walk through the door and are warmly greeted by the staff. Rex 1516 makes the effort to remember customer names, birthdays, and backstories. “If you know those things, people will realize you went the extra mile,” Swain explains.  

Rex 1516’s take on a biscuit could arguably be the most brilliant northeast and southern culinary mashup to date. After four iterations of a biscuit recipe, Chef Swain landed at his current creation. Scratch made biscuit dough is brushed with melted butter then rolled in the signature everything bagel blend of poppy, caraway, sesame seeds, garlic, onion and flaky sea salt.

Great care is taken with the preparation of each ingredient. Frozen butter is shredded by hand on a box grater. Temperature of each component is key. Swain mixes the biscuit dough delicately by hand rather than using mixer or food processor. Similar to his approach to barbecue, Swain believes “a lot comes from feel and knowing how things are supposed to look.”

Biscuits are served warm, topped with fried eggs and come served in a bath of surprisingly light and creamy “sawmill gravy” despite generous additions of onions, garlic, bacon, and house made sausage. Justin goes on to explain, “Southern food is about building layers. Cooking your onions in the fat from the bacon and sausage is key to building a good base.” For those less carnivorous, a mushroom gravy is available as well.

“We probably sell out of biscuits every brunch,” Swain boasts fairly. Although the classic Everything Bagel Drop Biscuit is reserved strictly for brunch goers, you can find variations on the recipe included with the Farmer’s Platter available at dinner. Swain has experimented with rosemary and honey, cheddar, and Nashville hot dill biscuits, to name a few.

For those lucky enough to taste the everything bagel drop biscuit with sawmill gravy at Rex 1516, you will certainly be craving the addictive hybrid again soon, just as this Chef had hoped.

---

Drop Biscuits

By Chef Justin Swain

Rex 1516 - Philadelphia, PA

Makes 1 Dozen

 

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

14 tablespoons of butter, divided as such:

8 tablespoons (4 oz) butter, melted

4 tablespoons (2 oz) butter, frozen and shredded

plus 2 tablespoons additional butter, melted for brushing biscuits

Mix dry ingredients and frozen butter by hand.

 

Mix melted butter and buttermilk together separately.

Add wet mixture to dry and mix until biscuits come together and are well combined.

Use an ice cream scoop to portion out biscuits onto greased parchment paper.

Brush tops with melted butter.

Bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until golden on top. 

 

*Please note: Chef Swain won’t reveal his secret everything bagel seasoning blend. Those trying to recreate the recipe at home can try their own blend of poppy, caraway, sesame seeds, garlic, onion and sea salt. After brushing the biscuits with butter, roll them in the topping mixture. Chef adds that the recipe is very forgiving with additions like cheese and herbs or various toppings.*

 

Visit Rex 1516

1516 South Street

Philadelphia, PA 19146

 

Rex 1516 is accepting reservations on Reserve

Hours:

Mon   5-10 pm

Tues - Fri   5-11 pm

Sat   11-3:30 pm, 5-11 pm

Sun   11-3:30 pm, 5-10 pm

 

[http://Rex 1516.com/]

f [https://www.facebook.com/REX1516/]

 

@ [https://twitter.com/REX1516]

Week 36: Biscuits Cafe

Indianapolis, Indiana

Things restaurants do that we love: mix together two unexpected things, serve things in skillets, serve breakfast all day, and have biscuits (obviously). 

Time to bring you to Indianapolis, Indiana. Just a few miles from the Monon biking trails lies a very unassuming restaurant within a strip mall, with just the simple word BISCUITS. Now, that word is enough to get us going, but we know it can take some convincing for others. This is Biscuits Cafe, this is the home of the Indiana biscuit, and you are totally missing out.

Now, with a name like Biscuits Cafe you probably thinking about this place all wrong already. It's not just a bunch of biscuit sandwiches. This is a place that breakfast all day along side a traditional Mexican meals. Yes, Mexican. You walk in (this place is always packed); you are worried about being seated, but you shouldn't be because the service is impeccable. We are talking friendly and fast. An added bonus: you sit and enjoy chips and salsa while you wait for breakfast. This is a dream come true. 

The Mexican cuisine is authentic; so authentic, in fact, that they opted out of the glaringly colorful decor we may have grown accustomed to. Upon entering, an exposed kitchen and white walls greet the guests. All the color this place needs lies within the food, and boy, is it eye catching! Whether ordering traditional breakfast foods like biscuits and gravy, going the traditional food route with taco salad, or mixing it all together with a breakfast quesadilla; there are no wrong ways to enjoy this hearty menu!

People truly love this place. There is no website, no social media presence, and yet we know it exists. Why? Because it is that good.

When you travel to Indiana you should eat like a local, and that is where every other local in the area is dining, morning, noon, and night. 

Also: DRINK SIZES. This mug of mimosa right here, THIS is a medium. If you go to the Biscuits Cafe, whether it be completely out of your way or your coming straight off the Monon, you, your tummy, your wallet, and your spirit will be happy. Don't let the unassuming strip mall scare you away!

 

1035 Broad Ripple Ave

Indianapolis, IN 

46220

Week 35: The Nova Cafe

 

312 E Main St

Bozeman, Montana

59715

Are you a biscuit lover from Bozeman, Montana? Well, consider yourself served. Home of beautiful landscapes, thrill seekers, nature buffs, and most importantly, home of The Nova Café, a downtown mainstay of this mountain town, is serving up breakfast and smiles. No strangers to the importance of your first fuel of the day, get your locally sourced protein and greens before you trek that mountain and work up your appetite for more.

The Nova Café was established in 2007 along with their strong sense of style. Walking into this café, you are immediately greeted with color, local art, cheerful staff, and the welcoming aroma of coffee. Equipped with a full expresso bar and all of the coffee mugs you could ask for, relax and unwind while you wait for a table; this place is bustling. You are not the only one jiving to get your breakfast buzz before the day really starts - everyone, locals and visitors alike, is here and they've even brought their dogs!

Taking a break with friends and family is a pretty great reason to eat delicious, warm food, and taking a break from the ordinary makes it that much richer. Something The Nova Café knows well is ordinary breakfast and how to twist it into something EXTRAordinary. Serving up options like the Flathead cherry cottage cheese pancakes, crab-cake eggs benedict, stuffed Co-op sourdough French Toast, or a prosciutto and asparagus omelet, clearly they have something for all kinds of patrons! Another hint that they aren’t just an average "eggs and bacon" kind of joint: their twist on the duo in their clever logo.

It’s reasons like these that have made The Nova Café Boseman’s Best Breakfast for so many years there’s pretty much no point in counting; they are the best breakfast, end of story. Also, everyone knows the best breakfast is locally sourced (you probably thought we were going to say “has biscuits”, but don’t worry, that comes later). You can literally read the names of the farmers that the food came from. The farms in Montana are beautiful, which, if we had to guess, probably has something to do with how beautiful the food is.

I mean, just look at it.

And the art, just look at it.

And then there’s the 12 different gluten-free bakery options.

Then factor in the organic ingredients, the grass-fed beef (Montana grass), and even some vegetarian and vegan options. We dare you to tell us one reason not to eat here!

The biggest reason you should visit, of course, is for the Montana Biscuit. It’s officially called the Nova-Made Biscuits & Gravy for Players with local sausage gravy and served with two local eggs and seasoned with Bausch Potato home fries. Well, play on playa.

So, next time you scale a mountain in your free time make it in Montana and fuel the excursion with the much needed grains (biscuits, obviously).


Lane Latimer, Nashville native, is a seasoned International Biscuit Festival Intern, UTK Senior, and doubles as an AC Entertainment Intern. She prides herself in goofy marketing techniques while remaining grounded in the woes of the business-professional atmosphere.

Week 34: Snow City Cafe

Written by Lane Latimer

Welcome to Alaska! Enjoy your stay at the Last Frontier, complete with low forty, high thirty degree weather this week, and if you get too cold, you are welcome to thaw out at this week’s biscuit haven. Introducing, Snow City Café, where an eclectic mix of part diner, part espresso bar, part bakery, can satisfy all of your stomach needs. Whether your stomach, brain, and heart call for all the meat you can treat yourself to or completely vegan options, you will be at home at this Anchorage locals’ favorite dining experience.

As other diners have lamented before, this haven has warmly housed tattooed covered, colorful hair creative types in close quarters with suited up, court officials without a bat of an eye. This may be why the Snow City Café is packed to the brim everyday by every walk of life. Locals come in all shapes and sizes and so does the local food. Sourcing as local as possible, not an easy feat in Alaska, the freshest of foods made from scratch and with plenty of love.

Becky Geist, executive chef, comments on the love-baking technique that makes their biscuits so grand, “We keep the recipe simple and emphasize using the proper procedure, which includes no machine mixing...all hand mixing.  This isn't special or (I hope) different from other biscuit makers, but it consistently yields a quality product.” Just like any good robot movie would suggest, love is by hand, not machines!

This restaurant is known for many things: for opening up at 7:00am every day and serving breakfast until it closes eight hours later (a Biscuit Fest favorite quality), for catering to the gluten-free, vegan, and omnivore dietary needs throughout their whole menu and dessert choices, for their amazing coffee and espresso options, for the monthly rotating art on the walls, and for keeping it modest and low key, as you may think of the restaurant from the outside before their food has a chance to grace your tongue.

The restaurant sits on a corner, right on the edge of downtown Anchorage. The booths are just as massive as their serving sizes. Sitting down with more elbow room with a broad counter, you can feel the anticipation of the other diners as they wait for their food. With pancakes as large as their head, their hash browns as big as an entrée but served on the side, French toast so stuffed with cream cheese you’ll be more stuffed than you can imagine; this place feeds giant appetites, and the pictures of their food create them. Large eyes wait for their large quantities in the warm and cozy atmosphere of many people chatting away. This is where great biscuits come from!

Geist anticipated biscuits being perfect for pairing, “Amazing biscuits are light and fluffy inside with a moderate crust and a hint of buttermilk flavor, which when done right, becomes the perfect vehicle for sausage gravy”. Sign us up! Nothing beats biscuits and gravy.

Similar to how you enter the cafe; frozen and then warmed to the perfect temperature with your hot coffee; that’s how Geist makes the biscuits. “Once the dry ingredients are mixed, we shred frozen butter & mix it in with the dry mix and then add the wet ingredients.  We mix by hand until the dough just comes together, then we cut the biscuits & place them side by side on a parchment lined baking sheet, touching but not crowded.  Freeze them, then bake them from a frozen state.”

Everything is baked in house and served straight to you since 1998. Even in it’s first year it was awarded Anchorage’s Favorite New Restaurant, and not much as changed since then. Especially considering it has won Best Breakfast for the past nine years. It might not be the best new restaurant, but it is safe to say, it is still considered the best.

So, open the spoon and fork door of Snow City Café and get ready to fall in love with all of the amazing things they have to offer, like salmon cakes, stuffed French toast, omelets, hash browns, and crowd-favorite hummus.

Oh, did humus catch your eye? Well, we're changing up our usual biscuit recipe with the decadent hummus this cafe so proudly serves!

1 - #10 can Garbanzo beans drained and rinsed

1/3 cup minced garlic

1 TBL+1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup lemon juice

1 cup tahini

~2 cups olive oil

Mix it all together in a food processor.  Pour the olive oil as the food processor runs & stop when it reaches the proper consistency (sticks to container sides/just able to be poured) - usually around 2 cups.  This basic hummus recipe is excellent, and serves as a great jumping off point for more additions (peppers, eggplant, etc.).

So, next time you are in Alaska, if you need any more convincing, stop by Snow City Café, where you are always welcome, but may need to make a reservation (hint,hint).

1034th W 4th Ave

Anchorage, Alaska

99501


Lane Latimer, Nashville native, is a seasoned International Biscuit Festival Intern, UTK Senior, and doubles as an AC Entertainment Intern. She prides herself in goofy marketing techniques while remaining grounded in the woes of the business-professional atmosphere.

Week 33: Zingerman's Roadhouse

Zingerman’s Roadhouse- Ann Arbor, Michigan

2501 Jackson Ave

Ann Arbor, MI 48103

734.663.FOOD (3663)

zingermansroadhouse.com

By Melissa D. Corbin

 

Zingerman's Roadhouse Is The Pot Of Gold At The End Of A2's Rainbow

Zingerman's Roadhouse Is The Pot Of Gold At The End Of A2's Rainbow

The University of Michigan moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor (A2) in 1837, which fueled rapid growth Michigan’s county seat. These days U of M is a leading research American university which has affected A2’s economy in a profoundly positive way. Still, scattered around this pituresque college town of about 113,000 folks is a group of inspiring Michiganders making a monumental impact on their community in their own rite. We like to think of the Zingerman Communities of Businesses (ZCoB) as the Kevin Bacon of Ann Arbor.

By stressing kindness and generosity through visioning, Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw co-founded Zingerman’s in 1982. (They chose the name because the “Z” would be easy to find at the end of the Yellow Pages.) Watch Weinzweig talk with Maria Shriver about anarchy, rye bread and other philosophies here:

Maria Shriver talks Zingerman's

Since their humble beginnings, the ZCoB entrepreneurial duo has grown the community to more than 15 expressions of their infamous collaborative spirit.

It was in 2002 when Chef Alex Young came aboard as Managing Partner/Executive Chef of Zingerman’s Roadhouse. He would go onto receive the 2011 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Great Lakes after five, count them, five nominations. Mind you, this is no "highfalutin" chef. His calm, salt-of-the earth personality shines through in everything he does.

Chef Alex Young At The Helm Of Zingerman's Roadhouse Kitchen

Chef Alex Young At The Helm Of Zingerman's Roadhouse Kitchen

“We’re kind of self-taught. Like our approach to food, we try to learn how things are done traditionally, and go from there,” Young talks about his farming style. He learned from “old school” farmers and applied what he learned to the 2014 addition to ZCoB, Cornman Farms. 

Cornman Farms  Farmer Mark Baerwolf Planting Crops To Be Harvested for Zingerman's Roadhouse

Cornman Farms  Farmer Mark Baerwolf Planting Crops To Be Harvested for Zingerman's Roadhouse

Cornman Farms Hoop House Extends The Michigan Growing Season

Cornman Farms Hoop House Extends The Michigan Growing Season

The day we caught up with Young, he was preparing halibut cheeks with black cumin seeds for a Roadhouse Rosh Hashanah dinner special (you can grab a tin of these lovelies and a plethora of other curated notions from the ZCoB online mail order business.)

“Zingerman’s is a Jewish deli of sorts. When we opened the Roadhouse, we chose to focus on Sephardic Jewish food, and so it opens the world up in a whole lot of ways. But, we also do truly American regional food. We cook a lot of bacon and a lot of pigs, that is true,” Young smiles as he explains how the Zingerman's brand could embrace all things pork. They have a Camp Bacon for goodness sake!

The Zingerman's Roadhouse Sign Was Created By Mark Chalou, Of Ann Arbor’s Mr. Neon Lighting.  (Using hard-to-find antique, hand-drawn glass tubes that Mark found in an old glass shop on the East Side of Ann Arbor.)

The Zingerman's Roadhouse Sign Was Created By Mark Chalou, Of Ann Arbor’s Mr. Neon Lighting.  (Using hard-to-find antique, hand-drawn glass tubes that Mark found in an old glass shop on the East Side of Ann Arbor.)

So, it only stands to reason that bacon would make a stand-up showing in our Michigan “50 States of Biscuit” biscuit. It’s the Zingerman’s Roadhouse Biscuit with Chocolate Bacon Gravy.

Zingerman's Roadhouse Biscuits With Chocolate Bacon Gravy

Zingerman's Roadhouse Biscuits With Chocolate Bacon Gravy

“We knew we wanted to have biscuits when we started serving breakfast and brunch about 10 years back,” explains Young. In true form, he researched old biscuit recipes and made it his own. Other than quality ingredients, Young says “there’s nothing special” about the biscuits themselves. “Biscuits are all about technique in my opinion,” he continues. His kitchen team uses their fingers, rather than pastry cutters. Young says that they work the dry ingredients in with the butter until the dough is in pea-sized pieces that are then refrigerated in gallon batches. This way, the butter is cold again. It’s not until they’re ready to bake the biscuits that the buttermilk is added, and the process continues to final product. Whether they roll or pat out the dough, we’ll never tell. He might say there’s nothing special, but we told you he wasn’t "highfalutin."

These biscuits are a huge crowd pleaser, selling out regularly.

Some folks like their Roadhouse biscuits with organic, raw honey from Traverse City. Young’s 12-year-old apiarist daughter, Lucy, will occasionally part with her personal stash for guests. “She’s amazing. She learned from our neighbor who keeps bees, and now she knows a lot about bees,” he says proudly. Then there’s the sorghum and butter. Young continues, “It’s sort of a Kentucky thing, where you swirl the sorghum and butter on a plate. Northerners aren’t as hip to the sorghum thing. They prefer the honey.”  

Chef Young's Biscuits With Some Of That Traverse City Honey

Chef Young's Biscuits With Some Of That Traverse City Honey

Topping the Zingerman’s Roadhouse biscuit condiment list is Chef Young’s Chocolate Bacon Gravy!

Young starts with raw chopped bacon cooked in a pan, and when it’s mostly cooked, he stirs in flour to make the roux. He then adds cocoa powder, sugar and milk. “Whisk it through, and simmer the flour out and you got yourself chocolate bacon gravy,” smiles Young. This savory, sweet delight is mildly sweet, but not like a chocolate sauce. Think mole without the spice.

Oh, who are we kidding?!? This gravy is not a mole at all. It’s in a class all it’s own and so delicious. It’s just something you’ll need to try for yourself. If you can’t head up to the A2, may we suggest Chef Alex Young’s gravy recipe for a little kitchen therapy?

Chocolate Bacon Gravy

Serves 8

4 slices Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bacon

1 c granulated sugar

3 T all-purpose flour

1/4 c cocoa powder

1 c whole milk

1 t sea salt

¼ t freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper

Fry bacon in a skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove from skillet to dry on paper towels. Pour off accumulated bacon fat through a fine strainer. Return 4 tablespoons rendered fat to skillet.

In a separate bowl, whisk together, sugar, cocoa and flour. Sift mixture into the pan, stirring constantly until blended and beginning to dissolve, about 3-4 minutes.

Add ¼ cup of milk. Mixture will bubble up. Turn up the heat to medium high, and stir constantly until sugar dissolves.  Add remaining milk ¼ cup at a time, stirring to thicken with each addition, until gravy thickly coats the spoon. Add sea salt to taste.

Serve hot, ideally, over buttered and toasted biscuits. Crumble the bacon over the top.


Written by Melissa D. Corbin

Written by Melissa D. Corbin

 Corbin is a Nashville-based freelance food and travel journalist. She’s also the founder of Corbin In The Dell, a company connecting those who care where their food comes from through content development and strategies that matter. Follow her on instagram @melcorbin and twitter @mdcorbin.

Week 32: Biscuits & Company

 Biscuits & Company 

Biddeford, Maine 

By Amanda Balagur 

 

When I walk into Biscuits & Company on Alfred Street in downtown Biddeford, Maine, I am immediately struck by how comfortable and spacious it is. Even when it’s busy, the atmosphere is soothing. In the center of the big open room sits a rectangular communal table made of dark wood that could easily seat twelveThe walls are painted in calming tones of light and dark grey. Modern ceiling fans rotate mesmerizingly slowly, and the décor is an eclectic mix of bright orange metal chairs, wooden benches, colorful pillows and charming knickknacks.  

Owner Stacy Cooper, a woman with short grey hair and a warm smile, mans the registerHer welcoming demeanor seems to set the tone of the space. Cooper keeps things moving without making anyone feel rushed, and takes time to greet each person individually as she takes their ordersShe opened the doors of Biscuits & Company in mid-December, 2014, and has put her heart and soul into the business – and it shows.  

“I imagined a place where everybody could come and be comfortable,” says Cooper, “and when I sit here and look at the range of demographics…people say, ‘Who’s your demographic, who’s your target audience?’ and I say ‘Hungry people’,” she laughs. Cooper’s clientele ranges from elderly locals who live within walking distance to young families to students from the nearby University of New England. Tourists have even started to make a detour into Biddeford just to have stop in for a bite to eat. Tearing up, Cooper adds, “I get really misty when I think about that, because this is what I imagined. It really is. I imagined a place where people would love to come and get good food and feel a sense of community.” 

Although she’s not a native of Maine, Cooper has a long history with the area. She remembers spending summers at the beach in Biddeford Pool and hanging out in Biddeford’s booming downtown in the 1960s. Cooper grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick, but her grandmother was friends with the Biddeford Pool postmistress, who let them stay in her attic on little camp cots for the summer. Cooper has felt a connection with the city ever since. After living in Boston for twenty years, she and her wife, musician Michelle Currie, decided to move to Biddeford for good seven years ago. 

While Cooper has built her career in corporate training, she has always been involved in the restaurant industry. Years ago, she got her start at Hattie’s Restaurant, where she introduced biscuits to the menu. But it wasn’t until she moved to Maine and began frequenting the local farmers markets that she thought seriously about turning biscuits into a business. 

Cooper remembers her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother whipping up plates of biscuits for family dinners when she was growing up. A few years ago, she attended the Maine Grain Alliance’s Kneading Conference and came across their fine sifted wheat flour made from local heirloom grains, which makes up 20% of the flour in her biscuits. It took some experimenting with ingredients and proportions, but once Cooper hit on the right recipe, she knew she had something great. 

Just as Cooper was preparing to start selling her biscuits at farmers markets, her friend, local business owner Roxy Suger, alerted her to an amazing opportunity. Heart of Biddeford, an organization dedicated to redeveloping and promoting the business district of downtown Biddeford, was sponsoring a contest called The Main Street Challenge. It included an incentive package worth $20,000 for entrepreneurs to open businesses in empty storefronts downtown. 

“I dashed off this one-page concept paper and sent it in, and they loved it,” remembers Cooper. In the second round, she had to prepare a Shark Tank-style business plan, and as one of six finalists, she defended her plan to a panel of judges. Of course, she also handed out samples of her biscuits, and was ecstatic when she won. To raise additional capital, Cooper held a party in the unfinished space; the names of individuals and businesses who contributed are listed in the restaurant on the “Founders Wall of Love.” 

Cooper is the first to admit that creating Biscuits & Company was a community effort. She credits the local business owners, friends, family, staff and her clientele with making the business such a success. “It’s so cool to be a part of the Biddeford community and see how much people have embraced a place like this, Cooper enthuses. 

Unsurprisingly, the biscuits themselves are the star of the show at Biscuits & Company. They’re large and fluffy, with an addictive nutty sweetness and wonderfully crunchy exterior. While the Big Biscuit Sandwich, made with egg, cheddar, greens, roasted tomato and red pepper relish, is the biggest seller, the benedicts served on Sundays with the chef’s heavenly hollandaise are also a huge hit. Everything is handmade from scratch in-house using many local ingredients, including the pork sausage for the biscuits and gravy and the challah for French toast.  

While Biscuits & Company is currently open Wednesday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch and Sunday for brunch, Cooper hopes to expand her business in the future. The challenge is to grow enough to keep up, yet maintain what they have already createdSo plan accordingly when you make Biscuits & Company a destination on your next visit to Southern Maine. You won’t want to miss out on the delicious biscuit dishes made with so much love in the heart of the flourishing community of Biddeford. 

Biscuits & Company 3-1-2 Biscuit Recipe (adapted for the home baker) 

Makes about a dozen  2 biscuits 

Note: Biscuits & Company uses a blend of unbleached all-purpose flour and a locally grown siftedwhole wheat flour from www.mainegrains.com 

 

4 cups flour (about 18 oz)  

2 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon salt 

generous pinch of raw sugar (if desired) 

12 Tablespoons (6 oz) chilled butter, cut in 1/2" cubes 

1.5 cups (12 oz) cold buttermilk 

 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

  • Measure flour into the bowl, then add the baking powder, salt and sugar.  

  • Cut cubed butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender, or simply use your hands to pinch and flatten about half of the butter pieces into the flour mixture. You should have a pebbly mixture with butter flakes and pea sized butter pieces.  

  • Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture and add about half the buttermilk.  Lightly toss the dry ingredients over the wet, turning the bowl till the dough forms lots of shaggy bits.  Continue adding buttermilk until mixture barely comes together, but isn't sticky. You may need a little more or less liquid depending on humidity. You'll see some dry spots in the dough- that's OK - the melting butter will bring everything together.    

  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently form it into a large ball.  Pat the ball out to 1" thickness, then fold it in thirds like a letter, patting it down to 1" thickness again. Turn and fold the dough once more and pat it down to 1" thickness.  Cut it into 2" squares or rounds. 

  • Place the biscuits 1" apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 425 for 5-6 minutes. 

  • Rotate pan for even baking and bake an additional 5-8 minutes till biscuits are golden brown.  

  • Take biscuits out of the oven and brush with melted butter or honey if desired. Serve hot with butter & jam, or as a base for breakfast sandwiches, biscuits & gravy or shortcake.

Week 31: Willa Jean

Willa Jean

611 O’Keefe Avenue

New Orleans, Louisiana 70113

Willa Jean

Willa Jean

 

Louisianans love to dwell on the details of their most recent meal, and as the state that practically invented brunch (a disputed fact, but we’ll take credit, thank you) the standards are particularly high for morning fare.

The state, and the Crescent City specifically, has seen an influx of breakfast-y joints over the past few years, but one in particular has hit a high note with residents and visitors alike.

A variety of goodies greet guests at Willa Jean’s counter. 

A variety of goodies greet guests at Willa Jean’s counter. 

When you walk into the bright, modern space in New Orleans’ South Market District that is Willa Jean, you’re instantly hit with the intoxicating scent of freshly baked bread and pulled espresso. Guests are greeted by a large sign declaring “U Needa Biscuit,” and never has a suggestion been more true.

Headed by Lisa White and Kelly Fields, Willa Jean is a bakery and a restaurant, but more importantly it is a celebration of bread. Serving as the foundation of the menu, buttery brioche, sweet Hawaiian rolls, chewy focaccia, and more form the base of a decadent variety of savory creations.

Kelly designed this Willa Jean biscuit merch, which you can find here (http://www.shopwillajean.com/collections/apparel). 

Kelly designed this Willa Jean biscuit merch, which you can find here (http://www.shopwillajean.com/collections/apparel). 

The duo’s biscuits in particular have garnered a considerable following. On their own, or simply buttered up and topped with jam, these fluffy treats are a carb-lover’s dream.

What sets these biscuits apart, you ask? A brilliant mix of technique, ingredients, and a little bit of magic.

These biscuits are flaky on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. 

These biscuits are flaky on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. 

“The technique is pretty simple,” Kelly says. “Combine the dry ingredients, cut in cold butter, finish with buttermilk until the flour is hydrated. The dough is then rolled, folded over several times, and then cut. We let the biscuits rest in the cooler and then brush them with cream before baking.”

The secret ingredient is the flour.

Lisa says, “I can't believe we are telling the world this…but we use Caputo “00” Pasta Fresca. This flour is milled from a specific part of the wheat, and the result is a light and tender product.”

The magic comes from years of experience.

“My mom is an incredible baker, from whom I still steal recipes,” says Kelly. “Baking was a constant part of our home kitchen, even from a young age.”

Lisa says, “I grew up playing with recipes from Betty Crocker cookbook - the red edition. And then I remember getting Mastering the Art of French Cooking and it petrified me!”

The two eventually found their way into chef and restaurateur John Besh’s various restaurants, where Kelly has spent years developing the company’s pastry programs. Lisa honed her craft, perfecting the breads and sweets as Domenica, a stylish Italian eatery.

Lisa and Kelly joined forces in 2015 with the goal of opening a restaurant/bakery that combined everything they love about food and hospitality into one space.

“Willa Jean was my grandmother's name,” says Kelly. “It became a natural fit. My grandmother always encouraged me to be true to myself, and to put all of myself on the line in everything that I do.  She was by far the biggest advocate in my life for pursuing my passion for food and service.”

Kelly (l) and Lisa Marie at the counter. 

Kelly (l) and Lisa Marie at the counter. 

“Once Kelly said ‘Willa Jean,’ it just seemed perfect,” says Lisa. “I remember her saying ‘Let’s sleep on it,’ but I already knew that was the name.”

Since then the pair have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, and are paying it forward by passing on their biscuit recipe.

Kelly’s biscuit-making advice is “Work quickly, keep everything cold, and don’t overthink it,” while Lisa muses, “Have fun! It’s just food.”

(Link with brunch history: http://www.louisianacookin.com/louisianas-best-brunch/)

Recipe:

Biscuits with Sausage gravy

Yields 8 servings

Ingredients:

32 ounces pork sausage

1 cup all-purpose flour

9 cups milk (2qt 1 cup)

2 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon red crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon of tabasco

 

Cooking method and Preparation:

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until beef is no longer pink.

Once meat is cooked sprinkle the one cup of flour over meat until all meat is coated and a light fond is created (do not let it get dark). Turn heat to high, gradually whisk in milk, whisking constantly, 7 to 10 minutes or until gravy is thicken to your liking add in salt, pepper, red crushed pepper and tabasco. Cook for another 5 min. Taste to make sure flour has been cooked out, if not cook for another 5 min or until gravy doesn't have a flour taste. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Helpful tips:

If gravy is to thick, thin it out with milk. Make sure milk and gravy are both hot.

If gravy is too thin, melt 4oz of butter, stir in 4oz of flour, cook for 5 min (until flour taste is gone) and slowly add into hot gravy. Cook for 5 minutes or until gravy thickens up (you may or may not use all of the roux).

 

Biscuits

2cup caputo flour (cake flour works too)

5tablespoons butter, grated through a cheese grater and chilled

2tablespoons baking powder

2teaspoons sugar

1teaspoon salt

1cup buttermilk

 

Preheat oven to 365

Add all dry to a large bowl and mix by hand until combined.

Grate cold butter and add to dry mixture.

Add buttermilk to mixture and combine until all of the dry ingredients are hydrated.

Put the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle 12inch by 8inch.

Fold the top of the rectangle halfway toward the middle, fold the bottom of the rectangle on top. Flour the top and invert.

Roll into an approximate 12 inch by 8inch rectangle.

With seams facing down, roll into a square.

Cut into squares of desired size. Brush with buttermilk. Bake at 365 until tops and bottoms are golden brown and the middle have set. Around 30 minutes.

 

 

This blog was submitted by one of the International Biscuit Festival freelance writers, Courtney McDuff, who also obtained these photos. Courtney is the Online Editor at Hoffman Media, publisher of Louisiana Cookin’ magazine. Check out more great Louisiana recipes at louisianacookin.com.  

 

Try these topped with fried chicken and Tobasco-honey on the menu at Willa Jean.

Try these topped with fried chicken and Tobasco-honey on the menu at Willa Jean.

Week 30: Butter Bakery and Cafe

I came across Butter Bakery and Café in South Minneapolis the same way most people probably still do – I lived in the neighborhood and became a regular. I’d stop in on the way to work to grab a scone and a cup of coffee. I’d meet friends there for brunch on the weekends. I’d run into neighbors there and sit down with them for an impromptu chat. I got to know the staff and the owner, Dan Swenson-Klatt. I became a part of the Butter community, and eventually, I even worked there as a baker. 

Being a baker, especially one who opens a shop, is far from glamorous. It means rolling out of bed and getting to work by five in the morning (sometimes hours earlier). No matter how careful you are in the kitchen, you inevitably bear the battle scars of baking in the form of multiple burns from hot pans and oven doors. The work can also be monotonous; making the same scones, muffins, sweet breads and coffee cakes day after day, week after week.  

But there’s always that one thing you enjoy making, no matter how often you have to make it. For me, when I was opening baker at Butter, that item was the biscuits. I loved how just a few simple ingredients mixed quickly together combined into a delightfully fluffy dough. I loved scooping the dough out of a big bowl onto a floured surface and gently pressing it to just the right height. My favorite part was stamping out each biscuit and laying it on the sheet pan. It was intensely satisfying. It was also pretty satisfying to take the fresh-baked biscuits out of the oven and admire them in all their golden, fluffy glory. 

Swenson-Klatt inherited the biscuit recipe, along with a few others (such as eclairs), with the space when he opened on Grand Avenue in 2006. He improved upon it by using locally-made butter from Hope Creamery. “Hope butter was the upgrade to the biscuits that really put them on the map,” says Swenson-Klatt. “It was easy to say there’s a story, but there’s also a taste – both things together created a biscuit that was what people really wanted.” 

Nearly all of the items at Butter are made from scratch in-house using locally sourced products, which is no easy feat in Minnesota. “Sourcing locally has been a way to reimagine the way Minneapolis eats,” Swenson-Klatt observes. “There’s been a real revival – even though our growing season here is short. I’ve enjoyed watching that grow around me.” 

Swenson-Klatt was also one of the first to make his restaurant a sustainable space with little-to-no waste. He began composting early and has enjoyed seeing it become the norm city-wide. “Now there are compost carts in everyone’s yards. I was ahead of the game, but I never wanted to be the only one in the game,” he jokes. 

Butter has always been a community-focused space, the kind of coffee shop that makes the neighborhood feel like a small town in a big city. Swenson-Klatt loves that Butter succeeds in providing that kind of experience. He notes, "We're a place where people bring their kids to meet the people in their neighborhood." 

Swenson-Klatt worked behind a grill as a cook when he was in high school, which was the extent of his restaurant experience until he opened Butter. He taught seventh and eighth graders in the Twin Cities metro for nineteen years. During his last decade of teaching, he taught in alternative school programs designed to work with kids who didn’t fit a standard traditional school setting. He even experimented with bringing kids into the kitchen to learn how to cook and bake.  

When Butter moved to a bigger space on Nicollet Avenue in 2012, Swenson-Klatt began a partnership with Nicollet Square to provide internships for kids who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. “As a former teacher, and especially as a teacher in alternative settings who has worked with young folds who have been struggling, I wanted to find a place to do that as a business owner, but I didn't know how to bring it into what I was doing," he explains. "It's having an impact beyond serving good foo. which gives me a bigger purpose than what I'd been doing." 

That doesn’t mean the food comes second; in fact, it has garnered Butter ongoing recognition. In addition to the biscuit sandwich, the café is known for its biscuits with homemade sausage gravy or mushroom gravy. The kitchen also accommodates request for variations on the biscuit sandwich, and offers a simple griddled biscuit with a side of butter and jam. “If you choose the best butter, it’s going to be pretty good,” Swenson-Klatt says, referring to the Butter biscuit. “There aren’t a lot of ingredients in them, so if you use good ingredients, like Hope butter – part of it is that it’s just simple.” 

People often ask Swenson-Klatt about the butterfly in Butter’s logo. He explains that it has something to do with transformation. "Most folks recognize the beauty of seeing places and people transform, "he explains. "I bought this place with my father’s inheritance, and he wanted me to do something good with it. It’s been a transformation for my family, for me, and indeed, this whole neighborhood, to have a place that’s community-oriented. It’s all about finding support for each other. To be able to do that is a gift. It sure helps to have the good food, too.” 

Butter’s Buttermilk Biscuits 

Makes about 10 biscuits 

4.5 cups (22.5 oz) flour 

1/8 cup (1 oz) baking powder 

¾ teaspoon salt 

16 Tablespoons (0.5 lb) cold butter, grated (use the large holes on a cheese grater) 

2 eggs 

2 3/8 cups (20 oz) buttermilk 

 

Preheat convection oven to 325 degrees or regular oven to 300 degrees. 

 

·                Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a big bowl. 

·                Mix the chilled grated butter into the flour mixture. You can dust the butter in the flour mixture to make it easier to handle. 

·                Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together. 

·                Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet into it. Quickly stir the wet ingredients in and knead it a few times to pull it all together, but be careful not to overmix it. 

·                Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it down into a rectangle about 2” high. Cut into rounds with a 3 ½” flour cutter (straight down, no twisting). 

·                Place biscuits on baking sheet covered in parchment paper so they just touch. Bake about 15-20 minutes in convection oven or 20-25 minutes in regular oven until they turn golden brown (do not overcook). 

·                Remove from oven, let cool enough to separate the biscuits, and enjoy! 

Week 29: Bella's Cafe

New Haven, Connecticut

By Amanda Balagur

 

For Rose Foote, owner of Bella’s Café, it’s more than just a cliché to say that cooking is in her blood. Her grandparents maintained separate restaurants in downtown Bridgeport, Connecticut, for decades: her grandfather came from Greece and established Nick’s Diner, while her grandmother came from Italy and established Paula’s Diner. Foote remembers watching her grandmother in the kitchen and helping her out by washing dishes. She also remembers that her grandfather insisted on feeding some of the local homeless because he felt that no one deserved to go hungry.

Foote’s parents took a more united approach. They established a restaurant together in 1962 in Trumbull, Connecticut, which is where they raised their kids. Their former customers still reminisce with Foote about her father Richie’s old-fashioned hot cinnamon donuts. Their restaurant was the only breakfast place in town, and Foote and her siblings often pitched in to help.

The funny thing is, Foote never really wanted to follow in the footsteps of her parents and grandparents. It wasn’t until she was about 25 years old and helping her mother out with a catering gig that she realized she wanted to be a chef. “Whatever was creative in me blossomed,” Foote remarks. “It was like a light bulb went off and I said, ‘Oh my god, this is what I want to do!’”

After a stint as an assistant pastry chef at Reader’s Digest, Foote worked on the line in the kitchens of several restaurants in southern Connecticut, learning to master her chosen trade. She was tough, like her grandmother, and enjoyed the challenge of experimenting with ingredients and creating new dishes. Eventually, she got tired of working for other people, and dreamed of opening her own restaurant someday.

Although Foote had never worked in New Haven, she often went there to dine. She was sitting on the patio of a restaurant on Whalley Avenue when she spotted the perfect space for her future café, right across the street. “I said, ‘I’d love a place like this,’” she remembers. Two years later, she bought the space she dreamed of owning and outfitted it with a functioning kitchen. In 2000, Bella’s Café was open for business for breakfast, lunch and brunch. These days, you’ll find a line out the door on the weekends for brunch, often with an hour-long wait.

Foote describes the food she serves at Bella’s as casual comfort food with a contemporary flair. She often does Southern-influenced cooking. Foote has always loved the New Orleans-style jazz brunch, and wanted to incorporate the food and atmosphere of the Big Easy into her own restaurant. “When I think of Southern, I think of breakfast. It’s comfort food,” she says.

The menu at Bella’s is seasonal and always changing. They serve breakfast all day during the week, including favorites such as Italian-style French toast and eggs benedict made with smoked pork. One of her best-selling items is shrimp and grits, served sizzling in a cast iron skillet on a wooden charger with a biscuit on the side. This dish was originally created as a special, but Foote added it to the regular menu based on demand.

And it’s easy to see why. The grits are made with cream, milk and butter – not water. They are heavenly, fluffy and rich. The base of the dish is chorizo smoked sausage sautéed with onion, combined with chicken stock, bay leaves and a few other ingredients. Shrimp get added to the chorizo base, and then the whole thing is spooned over the grits into the hot skillet, then topped with scrambled eggs. The result is a memorable dish that will spoil you for any other version of shrimp and grits on the eastern seaboard.

To find a biscuit she liked, Foote went from recipe to recipe. The version she makes is pure gold, as in: true buttery goodness. Her biscuits are high, with a tender interior that sops up the sauce of the shrimp and grits beautifully. But this biscuit can easily be eaten alone. It’s so moist and delicious, it’s like eating a stick of butter – in a good way.

The biscuit is often featured in specials, too, such as biscuits and gravy made with maple-pork sausage, or fried chicken on a biscuit. Bella’s recently featured a special with braised pork shoulder served over a biscuit with wild mushroom sauce, poached eggs and Tasso hollandaise. Foote’s inventiveness and love of breakfast food is obviously a major draw for locals, but she gets visitors from all over. Former students from nearby Yale and Southern Connecticut State University often reunite with their classmates at Bella’s over brunch.

While it may seem like a natural fit for Foote to own a restaurant, she doesn’t take what she does for granted. “I’m so blessed,” she says. “I’ve got so much joy. I love being here.” Once you taste Bella’s biscuits, you’ll feel exactly the same way.

Bella’s Buttermilk Biscuits

2 1/4 cups self-rising flour

1/2 cup cold butter

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

melted butter

·       Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

·       Measure flour into a bowl.

·       Cut the butter with a sharp knife or pastry blender into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle butter slices over flour in a large bowl.

·       Toss butter with flour, then cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly and mixture resembles small peas.

·       Cover and chill 10 minutes.

·       Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

·       Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times, gradually adding additional flour as needed.

·       With floured hands, press or pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle. Sprinkle top of dough with additional flour. Fold dough over onto itself in 3 sections, starting with 1 short end. Repeat entire process 2 more times, beginning with pressing into a 3/4-inch-thick dough rectangle.

·       Press or pat dough down to 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and place biscuits, side by side, on a parchment paper-lined or lightly greased jelly-roll pan.

·       Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

·       Remove from oven; brush with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.

 

 

Amanda Balagur is a freelance food journalist based in Boston. She recently got a master's in gastronomy at Boston University with a concentration in food history, culture and communications. Amanda also works as a freelance marketing consultant specializing in strategy, content management, copywriting and social media at Balagur Marketing.

Week 28: Polly's Pancake Parlor

New Hampshire

Polly’s Pancake Parlor, Sugar Hill New Hampshire

By Elizabeth Navisky    

Let’s play word association.  I saw New England, you say…snow, cold mountains.  Biscuits, however, probably do not come to mind.  But they should, especially if you happen to find yourself in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire.  Then you should run, don’t walk, to Polly’s Pancake Parlor, a mecca for all things breakfast, including their fluffy, crispy, salty and sweet maple bacon biscuits.          

Though Polly’s has been serving pancakes since 1938, the biscuits didn’t appear on the menu until eight years ago.  That’s when co-owners Kathie and Dennis Côté wanted to find a use for the extra buckwheat, whole wheat and corn flour that Polly’s stone grinds itself for their various pancake mixes. Not all of it fit into the bags they sell both in-store and online, so after some tinkering, the maple bacon biscuit recipe was born.  It also incorporates Polly’s maple sugar and maple syrup, making it “a representation of everything we do here in one little biscuit,” according to the Côtés’ daughter, Emily, great-granddaughter of the Polly who started it all.

In the early 1900s, Pauline “Polly” Taylor, a professional violinist, summered with her parents in Sugar Hill where she met Wilfred “Sugar Bill” Dexter. They married and ran his farm and maple business together.  Eventually they opened a tea room in a former carriage shed across from the farm as a way to market their maple products.  At that time, Polly’s seated 24.  Polly and Will’s daughter, Nancy Aldrich, and her husband Roger took over in 1949 and Kathie, Dennis, Emily, her brother, Chris, and her boyfriend Scott Carmichael gradually became involved as well, making it a true family affair.  The restaurant was only open summers until 2015 when they demolished the old building and built a new one.  Now the antiques-laden, rustic, wood structure accommodates 110 hungry people year round.

Trot Trot, the Swedish wooden horse built by Roger Aldrich in 1992, greets diners as they arrive

Trot Trot, the Swedish wooden horse built by Roger Aldrich in 1992, greets diners as they arrive

 

 In the airy, red and yellow tiled kitchen, baker Samantha Cargill makes the maple bacon topping first.  It’s a combination of Polly’s maple sugar and syrup, flour, butter and New Hampshire’s own North Country Smokehouse bacon. She spreads it quickly over the bottom of the parchment-lined pan. 

Next she moves on to the biscuit dough itself, gently kneading with her hands until the mixture just barely comes together.  She uses a biscuit cutter to make an even dozen and places them on top of the maple bacon goodness.

After baking for 20 minutes, she takes them out of the oven and flips the pan over.  She peels the parchment off and quickly separates the biscuits to prevent them sticking together.

Baker, Samantha Cargill, with the finished product

Baker, Samantha Cargill, with the finished product

  Denise Simonu putting the biscuits in the bakery case

  Denise Simonu putting the biscuits in the bakery case

Because of the low ratio of topping to biscuit, these beauties are more savory than sweet, making them ideal for breakfast and beyond. “People often order four biscuits to go if they’re going hiking or camping.  They’re as good as energy bars!” Emily says with a twinkle in her eye.

On an average day, Polly’s sells two dozen biscuits, but the number varies, especially during busy times like Columbus Day Weekend 2015, when visiting leaf peepers managed to eat almost seven dozen!

Polly’s Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar is used in the biscuits

Polly’s Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar is used in the biscuits

Polly’s kitchen is split into three parts: The back, where the baking is done

Polly’s kitchen is split into three parts: The back, where the baking is done

The middle, where eggs and other breakfast items are made

The middle, where eggs and other breakfast items are made

The front, where servers make the pancakes themselves.

The front, where servers make the pancakes themselves.

 Maple Bacon Biscuits

by Kathie and Dennis Côté

Polly’s Pancake Parlor

Makes 12 biscuits

 

What you need:

Topping:

1 lb bacon

⅔ cup Polly's Pure Granulated Maple Sugar

¾ cup Polly's Pure Maple Syrup

¼ cup flour

4 TBS melted butter

 

Biscuits:

2 cups Polly's Pancake Original Pancake Mix

2 cups white flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ cup of chilled butter (1 stick)

2 cups of cold milk or buttermilk

 

How to make it:

 

1.    Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Line the 9x13 pan with parchment paper.

2.    Cook the bacon just enough to lightly brown it.  You want limp bacon so that it doesn't burn in the oven later. Remove bacon from pan and allow to cool.

3.    Chop bacon into ½- ¾ inch pieces.

4.    In a bowl blend the rest of the topping ingredients until well combined, and add bacon.

5.    Spray the parchment paper in the bottom of the pan with a light coating of nonstick spray. Pour the topping mixture on top of the parchment in the pan, and spread out the mixture until evenly dispersed (it doesn't have to be perfect).

6.    In a mixing bowl combine original pancake mix, white flour, salt, and baking powder.

7.    Cut butter into ½ inch pieces. Add to dry ingredients and work them in gently by pressing the butter pieces with your fingers until they are combined. It should look crumbly with some larger pieces of butter left intact. Be careful not to handle it too much, or too briskly- this will overwork the dough and make the biscuits tough.

8.    Add the milk, mix with a fork or spatula until just combined. The dough should be sticky and wet.

9.    You can now either gently roll out the dough and cut it (although you may need to add a little more flour to the dough) OR use a large ice cream scoop or spoon to “drop” the biscuits into the pan. You should be able to fit 12 biscuits in the pan, they will expand. 

10. Bake biscuits at 475 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and tops are golden brown.

11. Remove from oven and immediately flip the tray of biscuits over (so the topping is on the top) onto a parchment lined cutting board. Remove the tray and remove the parchment paper right away! This step needs to happen carefully and quickly, so that you end up with the topping on top. Be careful not to burn yourself. If there is a lot of topping left on the parchment paper, scrape it off and pile it on top of your biscuits. 

12. Cool slightly but split biscuits apart while they are still warm so that the topping doesn’t stick them together.

Tips: Feel free to use Cornmeal, Whole Wheat or Buckwheat pancake mixes in place of the original for a different flavor (the oatmeal does not work as well in our experience.)

These biscuits taste great just on their own without the topping mixture to accompany a stew or chowder! Simply mix up the biscuit dough and “drop” the biscuits into a greased pan. Cook at 475 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown on the top. Drop out of the pan, pull apart, and serve!

 

 

 

 

Visit Polly’s Pancake Parlor

672 Route 117 (Sugar Hill Rd)

Sugar Hill, NH 03585

603.823.5575

pollyspancakeparlor.com

f Polly’s Pancake Parlor

@pollyspancakeparlor

 

 

Elizabeth Navisky grew up in a household with frozen vegetables and low-sodium cooking but had an epiphany when she discovered Julia Child at age 5.  She hasn’t looked back since.  Elizabeth has her Masters in Gastronomy from Boston University and has been a freelance food writer for over a decade.  She has written for The James Beard Foundation and the Boston Globe among other publications.  In addition to food writing, Elizabeth teaches people how to cook and is a personal chef.

Week 27: Palomino

Palomino

2491 S Superior St

Milwaukee, WI53207

414.747.1007

palominobar.com

Wisconsin set a record for milk production in 2015, at just over 29 billion pounds, according to the USDA. Folks come from all over the world to indulge in it’s most famous food, cheese. But, cheese isn’t the only product that the Badger State’s herd of more than 1 million dairy cows produce. It’s Wisconsin butter and buttermilk which hold the key to Palomino’s biscuits.

Located along Lake Michigan shoreline in the Milwaukee neighborhood of Bay View, Palomino is the third expression for sister and brother restaurateur team, Valeri (Val) and Adam Lucks. The siblings are excellent chefs in their own right. While Val is a self-taught pastry chef, Adam is classically trained and leads the savory side of things at Palomino. In true sibling form, the two once duked it out in a biscuit showdown. “He’s an excellent chef, and such a good cook. I’m not good at that. But, I was like, ‘nope, you can’t beat me at biscuits.’ I won,” Val laughs with a bit of side-eyed smirk. “There’s a reason I don’t make biscuits anymore, because Val’s biscuits are that good,” Adam exclaims.

Without giving away her biscuit recipe, she says it’s a pretty basic one. Flour, a lot of baking powder, salt, but really the key is European-style Wisconsin butter from a local farm called Freis Von Kiel Butter, buttermilk, “and that’s it, but lots of butter.”  Baker, Gabrielle Lewin takes us back to the kitchen to give us the scoop…

 Val started developing the biscuit recipe at their sister restaurant, Honeypie, and worked on it a long time. “They’re not as ubiquitous as they are in the South, and they’re often not as good. I’m really proud of that recipe. I love making biscuits,” she smiles. Her brother, Adam couldn’t agree more. “It’s this warm, butter, fluffy thing that no matter what you put on top of it, it can really make you smile.” Speaking of toppings, Palomino biscuits are large enough for sandwich making, but the house-made seasonal jams were plenty to put a smile on our face.

Actually, there’s several keys to Palomino biscuits, and they’re all steeped in the foundations of comfort food. 

Relative in nature, comfort food is “made with a lot of care, a lot of love, and has a sense of place,” Val explains. Adam adds that it’s “rooted in simple food made with great ingredients that have been simply prepared and doesn’t need to be overdone,” he continues that comfort “means its all about knowing that food is coming from a good place, and that it’s been cared for every step along the way.”

By using techniques their grandparents might have used, these two are not about short cuts. While Adam and his team grinds locally-sourced brisket daily for the Palomino Brisket Burger, Val and her bakers are busy baking an assortment of daily pies. There’s “Pie Grams” that are 6-inch pies mailed anywhere in the U.S., accompanied by a hand-written card designed by Milwaukee artists. Then, there’s Pie Class. Students can learn everything from Crust 101, Fruit Fillings to Thickeners and Streusel Toppings. Because it’s Wisconsin, you get a drink token from the bar for class. Val smiles, “We like to drink beer when we do things.”

Val and Adam travel South, often. Along the way, they’ve picked up more than just biscuit cred. These two are true blues when it comes to Bourbon as it’s “also rooted in comfort, family secrets and family recipes that have been passed down…the process has been the same through generations much like a biscuit,” Adam explains. It’s a Palomino goal to be one of the best bourbon bars in Milwaukee, the Midwest, and perhaps the country. “If Pappy shows up, we arm wrestle for it,” Val smiles, “the art and craft of it is really cool, but it’s just delicious.”

As the aromas of fresh biscuits and strawberry jam waft the room, we peruse Palomino’s art deco bar of bourbon, and notice a horse lamp at the bar’s corner. The “Magical Horse Lamp of Love” is a permanent Palomino fixture, who’s powers even Val could not escape. Will you be next?

Can’t make one of Val’s pie classes? Never fear. Try this Val original at home:

PEACH CRUMBLEBERRY PIE

By Valeri Lucks,Co-Owner & Chief Executive Pie Maker

Palomino & Honeypie Cafe Milwaukee, WI

One unbaked, single   pie crust

5          fresh, ripe Georgia peaches,  peeled, pitted,  and sliced

3c        Wisconsin or Michigan blueberries

1T        fresh lemon juice

3/4c     white sugar    

1/4c     all-purpose flour

1t         sea salt

3/4c     all-purpose flour

1/2c     brown sugar

1t         sea salt

1/2t      cinnamon

1/2c     cold Wisconsin butter, cut into 1/2” pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare yoursingle pie crust in a deep 9-10” pie pan.

Mix all the fresh fruit and lemon juicein a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together sugar, flour and sea salt. Mix into the fruit bowl to coat all the fruit. Pour fruit mixture into the pie crust. Place pie onto a foil covered baking sheet or stone and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. While pie is baking, in a small bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.Scatter cold butter pieces over top of dry mixture. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into the flour mixture until small pea-sized pieces are formed (don’t cut the butter down too small). Use your fingers a bit to bring clumps together to create a crumble. Set aside in the freezer until ready to use. After 35 minutes have passed, remove pie from the oven. Sprinkle the cold crumble over the top of the pie. Return to oven and lower temperature to350 degrees. Bake for another 25-35 minutes or until the pie filling begins to bubble and thicken around the edges and in the center (it’s ok if it takes a little longer if your peaches were juicy).Remove from oven and allow the pie to cool for at least four more hours. Serve at room temperature or warmed with some ice cream (it’s also delicious cold from the fridge!)Pie will be good at room temp for up to 4 days – if it lasts that long. The center (it’s ok if it takes alittle longer if your peaches were juicy.) Remove from oven and allow the pie to cool for at least four more hours. Serve at room temperature or warmed with some ice cream (it’s also delicious cold from the fridge!) Pie will be good at room temp for up to 4 days – if it lasts that long.          

 

Written by Melissa D. Corbin- A Nashville- based freelance food and travel journalist. Corbin is also the founder of Corbin In The Dell, a consulting company connecting those who care about where their food comes from. Continue the conversation with her on instagram @melcorbin, twitter @mdcorbin or visit her website at corbininthedell.com.

Week 26: Devil's Teeth Baking Co

50 States of Biscuits California-

Devil’s Teeth Baking Co.

by Keia Mastrianni

The first time I stumbled upon Devil’s Teeth Baking Co., I was visiting my best friend who had just made the cross-country move to San Francisco. She settled in the Outer Sunset, a neighbor-hood just blocks from Ocean Beach on the west side of the city. Known for a relaxed vibe that pulses just a tad slower than the rest of the city, the Outer Sunset is home to families, a large concentration of the city’s vibrant Chinese community, and surfers looking to catch a few waves. 

One morning we strolled down Noriega street to a buzzing storefront. By 8 am, Devil’s Teeth Baking Co. had a line out the door and a handful of locals– parents with strollers, folks dressed for a full workday, and the hip, young set–claimed their space in the parklet out front to sip steaming cups of coffee, and dig into one of the bakery’s handmade pastries. What caught my eye were the brave, hungry souls tackling one of the most massive breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever seen. Devil’s Teeth offers one breakfast sandwich, which is more than enough. Comprised of the bakery’s famous buttery biscuit (which is the size of a boxer’s fist), two scrambled eggs, melted cheddar cheese and thick slices of bacon, it is a sight to behold. Once you devise your strategy for eating this colossal sandwich, it’s over. You will be compelled, as if by an unseen hand, to eat the entire thing. Don’t fight it. 

Devil’s Teeth Baking Co. opened in February 2011 by Hilary Passman, a former lawyer turned baking goddess. She began baking from home, selling pastries wholesale, but soon outgrew her home kitchen and needed a brick and mortar. She settled on Noriega Street, between 45th and 46th Avenue, where she opened Devil’s Teeth. Named after the craggy Farallon Islands just off the coast of San Francisco (nineteenth century sailors nicknamed the islands “the Devil’s Teeth”), she opened the bakery with no sign or telephone number. But people found her, and the neighborhood welcomed a place to grab a quick meal. At the bakery, you’ll find incredible cinnamon rolls, an assortment of muffins, and giant cookies, in addition to simple breakfast and lunch items. But it’s Passman’s giant flaky biscuit, crisp and buttery on the outside, with a tender interior, that has won the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Though I call the East Coast home, this biscuit is worth a cross-country trip.

Week 25: Bolyard's Meat and Provisions

  

Maplewood, Missouri was the last stop on St. Louis’ streetcar line during the early 1900’s. This suburban St. Louis community has seen many changes through the years. Yet, Bolyard’s Meat and Provisions continues the timeless traditions of a full-service butcher shop right in the heart of Maplewood. 

When Chris Bolyard graduated in 2000 from Culinary Institutes of America in Hyde Park, New York, how his biscuits were buttered wasn’t exactly an obsession for this Midwestern chef. Actually, whole animal butchering, charcuterie, sausage-making and all the “fun stuff that goes along with it” led him and his wife, Abbie, to realize their entrepreneurial dreams in 2014. They opened Bolyard’s Meat and Provisions that November.

Encased in vintage windows, the shop is bathed in natural light. Its shelves are filled with provisions such as local honey, house-made soaps made from tallow, smoked salts, and other notions not found on your average grocery run. The aromas of smoke-cured meats and other tasty morsels tantalize the strongest of wills. But, it’s the biscuits that won our hearts.

As it turns out, Chris doesn’t butter his biscuits at all. He prefers lard.

The day we stopped by, Chris was removing spare ribs from the belly of a locally-sourced hog. He explained that the hard fat along the belly will be sold fresh, or as bacon. The fat running beneath the ribs is soft fat. He pointed to a particular soft fat which protects the animal’s kidneys, “this renders down well and is called leaf lard.” Lard is always from pork, tallow is from beef, and schmaltz is from chicken. Still, the rendering process is the same. Freshly ground soft fat is boiled with water over medium heat, until the water evaporates. The remaining bits of meat are filtered out, leaving clear lard.

 

As a couple picked up their pre-ordered “Butcher’s Box” at the register, Chris took us behind the counter to share his biscuit secrets. “I wished I could say I made them with my mother or grandma, but that’s not the case. I’m self-taught, and learned from people who had more experience than me,” he smiled as he worked the room-temp lard into a bowl of all-purpose flour. “You’re looking for nickel-sized pieces of larded flour,” he continued that the addition of cold buttermilk to this mixture will create its famous flaky layers. The final ingredients were folded, rolled, and cut into squares, before heading to the freezer.